Imatges de pÓgina

paupers shall be provided for in the workhouse, and classed according to their character and deserts.

We are not, however, inclined, as too many are, to look upon the poor, generally, as an aggregation of vice and imposture; and to consider every person in want a delinquent. There are cases of extreme suffering often occurring, and the utmost caution is necessary to relieve them; but let this be done after patient investigation, and with a union of moral with physical means. To look upon every destitute man as a rogue, as some would do, arises from gross selfishness and misanthropy; in all our efforts let us never forget "human nature."

To look at these regulations abstractedly, they may appear to some as too severe for adoption; the result, however, has proved the contrary; the evidence afforded in the pamphlet amply bearing out the necessity and propriety of every one of them. Indeed the last regulation was expected to bring at least fifty or sixty able-bodied paupers into the house immediately, but even this apprehension was found to be groundless. Alluding to this, Mr. Capper writes

"We have now only one able-bodied pauper in the house, who was passed home from London, and who is certainly far too idle to seek for any other relief; nor has there occurred more than one instance in which an ablebodied pauper has attempted to brave the imaginary terrors of our workhouse, by bringing his whole family within its walls. In this case there were five children, making a total of seven persons, who demanded relief in the month of November. They were well known, as having before "beaten the parish" by a similar experiment, and as this was the first case of the kind under the new regulations, it was determined, although with some hesitation on the part of a few members of the vestry, to apply the system to the utmost, and neither give money nor work. They were offered the house. It was accepted. The husband and the elder boys were separated from the mother and the other children, and allowed only occasional communication. They were placed in the second class, although the mother and younger children had some indulgences granted them in consideration of their age, and other circumstances; in consequence of which they seemed tolerably well satisfied. The husband bore his lot with some "determination " for three weeks, when he applied to the vestry, with the woful exclamation, "Be I to go to that pump all day?" alluding to the absence of any better beverage than that of pure water. He was told there was no remedy, but that he might go out for a day to look for work. This he readily accepted, and at the next vestry, he again appeared in a more woful plight than before;-" Gentlemen," said he, "I cannot stand it no longer. I hope you will let me go. Gentlemen; if you will only let me go, it will save you hundreds of pounds, FOR I'LL TELL 'EM ALL, AND NOT ONE SHALL COME TO YOUR HOUSE NO MORE. On being told we had no wish to detain him, provided he took his wife and family with him; "he hoped we would give him a few shillings to start him." This being contrary to our rules, we subscribed a small sum amongst ourselves, and in two or three days he obtained a lodging adjoining the workhouse; was soon able to find employment, and has now a regular place, where he is likely to do well."

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The plan of refusing all casual relief except in illness, has the effect to convince the poor that they must now be industrious, or starve, or

* Since writing the above, this man has quitted the house,

be subject to the discipline of the house; and Mr. Capper remarks, that “the right choice has been made in every instance; and the circumstances of many are, in consequence so much improved, that the more honest portion are not sorry for the change; especially they are sensible that, all being alike refused, there can be no partiality. The old system of relieving without strict inquiry, and the discrimination of character or conduct, made the pauper to believe that the parish money was the poor man's right; and he would rarely struggle for that which was to be had without any further exertion than bullying a vestry into compliance. It is common enough to find paupers refusing small relief, and demanding what they thought proper of those who had not sufficient firmness to deny them : they would, in the words of Mr. Capper, “throw down such a sum as two or three shillings on the table, contemptuously declaring, they were not going to take such relief as that." Leaving, however, further arguments respecting, the old systems of parish government, we shall refer to the success of the plan delivered in the tract before us :—

"The amount of our population is about 1,900. The average amount of rates for the last three years, up to Lady-day, 1833, was ten shillings and sixpence in the pound, on three-fourths of the annual value; and the average annual expenditure in the same period, upwards of 1,900l., being one pound per head on the population. For the last three years, the overseers fearing to levy rates sufficiently large to cover the heavy expenditure, incurred a considerable debt, amounting in 1830 to nearly 50l., and increased in 1831 and 1832, to 440l. To have liquidated this debt in one year, and defrayed the current expenses with the old system still in force, would have required a rate of thirteen shillings and sixpence in the pound! a sum which I am convinced many of the small farmers could not have paid; and in consequence of the increased embarrassments of others, many of the poor would have been thrown out of employment, and distress multiplied perhaps without remedy. We have therefore, the greatest reason to be thankful for our happy escape from a situation apparently so hopeless.

“Instead of a rate of thirteen shillings and sixpence in the pound, and every probability in future of its annually amounting to twelve shillings, we have, under the new system, been enabled to liquidate the entire debt, expend 1781. on the workhouse, and to close the year's account with a balance of 60l. in hand, by a rate of only ten shillings in the pound! And I can fearlessly affirm, that this has been done in the exercise of the kindest spirit and manner towards the poor, and without any known instance of injustice or oppression. Our expenses are now reduced to about 2007. per quarter, being upwards of 1,000l. per annum less than the average expenditure of the last three years. Surely, the system by which so much has been effected, is worthy the attention of the enlightened philanthropist, and of the general adoption of the more interested part of the community."

These facts speak for themselves, and require little remark: we may, however, allude to the effects of the system on those who were in the habit of receiving weekly pay :

"There were fifty-eight resident and fifteen non-resident pensioners, and sixteen illegitimate chidren, receiving the annual sum of 5301.; one hundred and eighty-nine persons who received, on various pretences, as casual relief, 3001.; and one hundred and thirty-one who received relief by employment to the amount of 3471. Seventy-one were relieved both by casual relief and

labour, and eleven received casual relief and weekly pay; so that out of a population of 1,900, three hundred and ten, or one-sixth of the whole, were paupers, drawing on the wealth, or rather poverty, of the parish, to the annual average amount of 1,200/.! But I am rather understating the facts of the case; for on referring again to the documents, I find, that a great number of the pensioners had families; and I may therefore fairly calculate that onethird of the population were more or less involved in the morally-injurious effects connected with pauperism.

"The change effected by the new system is as follows:-The number of pensioners is reduced to thirty-two resident, three non-resident, and nine illegitimate children, who receive the annual sum of 240l. The casual list consists, on an average, of six individuals per week, receiving an average sum of about sixty pounds or less in the year; and the charges for labour are reduced to a cipher! and probably, only about one-twelfth part of the population, instead of one-third, can now be considered in a state of pauperism, receiving to the amount of about 300l. per annum instead of 1,2001.!-making a difference, principally in favour of industry and happiness, of 8901. per annum, -in other words, the annual sum given in relief is reduced three-fourths of its former average amount."

In the concluding pages of this highly-interesting tract, which ought to be read by the members of every select parochial vestry in the kingdom, the author recommends every parish to be very cautious, in the introduction of a rigid system, unless every facility can at the same time be afforded to the spirit of enterprize and industry; and advises its connection with provident societies, loan funds, the allotment of land, and schools for the children of the poor. To the three former subjects it is our intention to call public opinion; with regard to the latter, we must suffer the author again to speak. Alluding to philanthropic exertion generally, he observes :

"At the same time, however, it must be accompanied by education, for otherwise the poor will be (as indeed they are in too many cases at the present moment) ONLY A DEGREE REMOVED FROM THE BRUTE CREATION; and therefore incapable of sufficiently appreciating the value of right principles and motives. This country has indeed much to answer for in its almost studied neglect of the moral wants of its peasantry. They have been treated as a kind of separate world, without a soul; and it is therefore no wonder that now, when they are beginning to understand a little of their own nature in its moral and intellectual, as well as physical capacities, some confusion and disorder should occur to mar that harmony and beauty which were desired and expected. But let not that be charged on education which is in fact to be attributed either to previous neglect and consequent deep moral injury, or else to the insufficiency of the means employed. At PRESENT THE instrucTION AFFORded is wholLY INADEQUATE TO THE WANTS OF THE POPULATION; and until those wants are supplied, it will be in vain to expect the peasantry, generally, to act as rational and moral beings. Their sad, degrading, and slavish ignorance cannot long continue-KNOWLEDGE WILL BE OBTAINED— their desires after it will become more eager and irrepressible; and if not promptly and judiciously supplied with wholesome materials, they will naturally feed on those which are poisonous and destructive. The aristocracy and gentry of England have now no other alternative, but either freely to dispense the treasures of useful knowledge to the poor, or suffer them, in the exercise of their own ill-directed efforts for liberty and enlargement of mind, to become willing and active instruments in the hands of a restless and indefatiga+ ble body of men, who can breathe only the elements of discord, and who de

light in the destruction of every thing that is morally beneficial and beautiful. The more experience I have among the poor, the more am I convinced that THEY CANNOT BE EDUCATED TOO MUCH, OR TOO GENERALLY. When the subject first came under my observation, I THOUGHT differently. But I now see that to attempt to limit the rising efforts of a being possessed of a reasonable soul—the image of the ALL-WISE CREATOR-is absurd in principle, and ruinous in practice. And to deprive him altogether of the "key of knowledge”-bound as he is for an eternal state of existence-is as wicked as it is cruel. I do not mean that education, either in kind or degree, should be forced; for either in religion or morals, compulsion is ruinous; but it should be universally provided and offered. And the master of every school should be able to afford whatever instruction the genius of his scholars might require, or their time and opportunities permit of their receiving.

"By education, however, I must be considered as meaning that which is strictly religious. Not that religion is to be propounded as a science, but that the poor should be taught the true end of all knowledge-the glory of God; and that they should be instructed to love and fear Him, and reverence and obey his word. Let this be done, and our peasantry will eventually become both wise and happy. But if, on the contrary, we endeavour to set our youth afloat on the sea of knowledge without either compass or chart by which to shape their course-if we have never pointed them to the polar star of truth, we need not wonder at the result! Common sense and the experience of ages alike confirm our apprehensions, not of danger only, but of ruin.”

We need not say how much these remarks are in unison with our ideas, nor need we say how rejoiced we are to find that that influential and enlightened body-the clergy, are in various ways, bearing their testimony to the necessity of an enlarged and more liberal course of instruction for the people. Let them proceed on these principles, and they will secure the love and affection of their flocks; let them do as Mr. Capper has done, and they will not only receive the highest honor which can be conferred upon them, as Mr. Capper has received-the thanks and gratitude of their parishioners; but they will also enjoy the high satisfaction, which results from a consciousness of having done their duty, in the place which God appointed for the scene of their labours.

Report of the State of Public Instruction in Prussia, addressed to the Count de Montalivet, Peer of France, Minister of Public Instruction and Ecclesiassical Affairs. By M. Victor Cousin; translated by Sarah Austen. Small 8vo. pp. 38-333.

THE system of Public Instruction in Prussia, is the most perfect in the world: it comprehends instruction for all classes, according to the station of each; and is looked upon not only as the means of imbuing the people with intelligence, but as the first engine of preventive police in the kingdom. As such it becomes a powerful testimony in favour of the government of a country taking up the education of the people as a legislative measure, and afford the most convincing arguments of its practicability.

Mrs. Austen observes, in her preface, that she long ago wished to publish a translation of this Report, but was prevented from doing so by being told by judges of the state of public mind, that it would not

obtain sufficient attention. We are glad to find that the public mind has since undergone a favourable change (we should say a revolution) in favour of the necessity of the immediate education of all, not only in the mere implements of knowledge, but in knowledge itself.

This change is to be attributed to the great light that has been thrown on the state of the poor by the Poor Law Commission, the Factory Bill, and by the recent examinations of the Committee of Education; and it is a cheering symptom indeed, in the prospects of the country, to observe, that the most strenuous defenders of ignorance are coming forward in various ways to record the change that has taken place in their sentiments; and we rejoice to add, that they are willing to allow, not only that the slender portion of education they formerly objected to is essential, but that an extension of that education has become expedient.

Nothing, perhaps, has a finer tendency to humble that ignorant contempt for other nations, which is the cause of the besetting folly of the English, than the perusal of this volume. It shews us to be a generation, at least, behind our poorer neighbours,—and also that, however, as a nation, we may boast of our civil institutions, and our rights and liberties, yet in the first of all institutions we are positively deficient.

To this may be answered, that private benevolence will supply that in England which compulsory measures alone will do in Prussia. But we must reflect on this, that out of a population of sixteen millions, the number who support education, do not amount to more than five thouthousand at the most; and that, at least, one third of the people of England are growing up in ignorance; while those who are said to be under instruction, are in every case so fettered by restriction and the system of exclusiveness, as to benefit but little indeed in comparison with the instructed in the nation of whom we write.

Not, however, intending here to discuss the question of education, as a legistive measure, we shall proceed to our remarks on the translation now before us.

M. Cousin divides his Report into four sections :





General Organinazation of Public Instruction.-The mechanism of the administration of public instruction is as follows: Every parish is bound to support a school, of which the pastor or curate is inspector, associated with a committee. In parishes where there are several schools and establishments of primary instruction of a higher order than the county schools, the magistrates form a higher committee, or board, which presides over all these schools, with their several committees, and arranges them into one harmonious system. Besides this, in the chief town of the Kreis, or circle, there is another inspector, whose authority extends to all the schools in the circle. This inspector is generally a clergyman; in Catholic parts it is the dean: his title is Kreisschulinspector.

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